I set this page up a few years ago to talk about records in my home of Houston. I wrote the articles by listening to new records on bandcamp.com and analyzing the songs, I had a hard time keeping up with it though. My issues keeping up with it were:
“4 Songs Too Long” by Low Horizon.
The first song “Just Fine” starts with a really bright, light acoustic, then bass and electric guitar enter together in a way that kind of reminds me of Baba O’Rilley, it gets soft again then the next section has some awesome stops followed by some synth and drums that almost make it feel like a cars song. Good slow tempo rocker. It seems a little weird at first to start the record with such a slow song, but it makes a lot of sense in light of how the whole song is like one big intro. The production is a little eh toward the end of the song when everyone is playing together; like some of the parts lack a little for clarity, that said, it's not a huge deal.
In the second song, “Atmosphere Blue” opens with a weird sounding guitar solo, I couldn't really make up my mind if I though the melody of it worked. It bothered me, maybe that's a good thing, I don't know. The chord changes were pretty classic the vocals kind of reminded me of “Fireflies” By Owl City.
This is the shortest song on the record, it's like one minute, and the production is kind of a problem, However this song has the best most catchy chorus. Favorite Song so far.
“40//death” is a song that plays pretty slow and needs a little bit of patience and attention in order for it to really reveal its melody. If you can do that it's great. Sometimes it's painful how slow it is, if you really grasp how good the melody of the verse it that's an awesome thing.
The Last song “Funeral” Feels like the end of something. I mean maybe that's obvious since it's called Funeral, but it makes me feel like this band really wrote these songs with the intention that they would be heard in order. It starts with pulsing drums and synth with vocals up top. The song builds slow and steady and just keeps pulsing through sections and finally breaks out into an open chorus. With the words just repeating over again with lead guitar subbing for vocal harmonies. It ends abruptly with a reversed crash sound.
This is a really good album. The Long a slow songs reward you for making and effort and the order of the songs seems logical. It feels like a story, which is good. That said there are 4 long slow songs you have to put effort at listening to and only one fast, fun, easy groove party song. My favorite song was “Next Time”. Worth the time, worth the money, but I wish it had more fun songs. Listen at:
“The Way You Were Last Night” By Belvoir
The First Song Top Knot opens with a catchy fuzz phrase that repeats over and over while the other instruments enter, then chilling out for a verse with a cool clean guitar part that seems to be doing the job of a vocal harmony; kind of like the guitar of the verse of “you got lucky” by Tom Petty. The lyrics seem to be describing a girl, who likes some guy but not that much. The chorus is nice and big and open with a lot of engaging rhythmic pushes. The bridge has some nice clean fingerpicking but kind of feels empty until the chorus guitar solo comes in. It kind of ends on the solo which was a bummer to Me; I was kind of ready to hear the chorus one more time.
The second song, “Out There”, is nice, it's got a nice alt country/ indie country feel. The Acoustic guitar and (lap steel/ slide?) part sound great together, The vocal Harmonies are all pretty tight, but I wish the vocal harmonies were a little louder, I almost didn't notice them/ after they stopped I couldn't tell if the were over or lost in the mix.
On “Make Up”, we get some Fuzz Guitar chord stuff like on “Top Knot” but this time with the slide stuff from “Out There”. Easily the strongest guitar parts on the album so far. The slide does so really good volume swells in the into and volume swells with harmonics in the verse. The chorus is big and loud but only a few bars long; it works really good following the sparse empty prechorus. The guitar solo is over a verse and make a really good use of octave bends and a lead tone that sort of nods at “Madness” by muse, or “We will rock you” by Queen.
Porcelain Dogs has a lot lower slower tempo an feel, it pretty much immediately struck me as a Brit-Pop or 70’s Bowie type song. It's a well written sounding song song; and the iv at the end of the chorus is placed really well; but it just wasn't a super engaging like the first three for me.
The title track has some great lyrical guitar Harmonies in the verses; it's worth hearing just for that. The lyrics start out with really strong imagery, but I lost the story pretty quick. The chorus sections were put together well, but between the guitar octaves and the dynamic changes always being right on new sections, it just started to feel a little dated; like a song from the mid-2000’s.
“Busy”. Back to the Rock N’ Roll. This is a great Garage jam, not totally from early Stokes. This song has the most engaging Bass parts So far on the record. Great chord changes, with cool chromatics connecting them. I like the lyrics, they all seem idiosyncratic and memorable and the Drummer switching to floor Tom in the verse at 1:00 opens things up really well so I can hear everything. The guitar solos could be a little louder, but are full of pretty great octave and third bends.
The second to last song “Blink Twice” stays with a lot of themes we've already heard but does mix them up nicely. The melody and rhythm remind me of a lot of Paul McCartney songs; Hey Bulldog! Comes to mind first. It also feels like that Song “Girlfriend” by Supertramp. The chorus again I thought felt a little dated, but it worked. Great Fuzz tones of the first Guitar Solo, nice and Brassy, the the Fuzz on the second solo was a lot tighter but worked well for its more staccato parts and helped to differentiate the two guitars when they play together. Again they ended on a solo; not that there's anything wrong with that, but I was ready to hear the chorus again right there.
The Final Song, “River Monsters” goes back to some of the low tempos from the middle of the record. But uses some very 80’s synth sounding pads (volume swells?) and cool orchestral sounding builds on the ride. It's a good song but after hearing the previous two faster more exciting songs, I just wasn't really ready to go to another slow song.
This is a good album overall, Worth the time to listen to and worth the money to buy, but a lot of it was on the slow side, and occasionally things felt predictable. My Favorite songs were “Make up” and “Busy”, with “Blink Twice” as a close third. Listen to it at:
Heard a single by a Houston band called Pearl Crush; they are pretty good. On the first song: Great melodies, interesting chords, and a lot of harmonies and parts that keep things interesting, I like the changes in the guitar tone are great, very spacey then surfey. And the bass in perfect so the songs can feel danceable. On the second song, there are also some great harmonies, some of the guitar work feels a little “1978 Bowie”ish but plenty of it is still fresh interesting, including an 8-bit fuzz guitar solo
My main complaint is that it's a single release; I would really like an entire album like this. I was also weirded out by the band being named pearl crush and the song being named first blush; which kind of rhyme in my head; idk I'm assuming that was coincidental but if it was on purpose it was marketing genius.
I didn't hear any local albums good enough to write about all month.
I don't want to waste ya'll's time or mine talking about shit music.
There were some good singles that I heard, But I don't want to get into writing about singles.
Feel free to Email me about good albums youve heard by Local Houston or texas rock bands. WKC
This band does nice three piece rock stuff; not minimalistic or stupid, but simple. The guitar tends to jump around a lot and the vocals generally sit between the guitar and bass.
The first song, “dewdropper” is kind of uptempo but minor sounding. It opens with a real nice chord Riff, and the verses have cool rhythmic vocals. The chorus sounds good but has some weird sounding octave up vocals that broke the tension a little too much
The next song “Mustard Gas” is one of the strongest melodies on the album, and from a guitar point of view is a big change. It's all pretty sounding open chord stuff. The background vocals sound great on this one, the whistling solo sounds a little out though.
“Crawlers” the guitar changes again now doing fuzzy power chord stuff, and the vocals kind of remind me early Against Me! (Think maybe Jordan’s first choice) it has a nice, big, and open chorus, and lots of build ups.
The fourth song is called “Fantasies: Feels part 1” it opens strong with quick flatpicked chord apregiation. Lots of dramatic build-ups again, but with more guitar parts in this song than in the previous ones.
“Fuss” has a cool late 90’s alt-punk feel; it kind of reminds me of bands like Eve6 or Lit. This one is more of a whole band song, but there are two really cool riffs in it, one in the verse that's a moving chord part following the vocal and the other in the bridge/ solo toward the end, which is also a moving chord part, but this time with a little more freedom.
The next song “Cherry Lies” has probably the best vocal part on the record. It's a listing part, quick rhythms on the phrases, and into a big chorus with good alliteration sounds.
“Breakfast for the Selfish” is a departure. It starts with a vocal doing a siren sound, then acoustic guitar and vocals followed by cello, and then more of the string type embellishments associated with the late 60’s. Think “Elenor Rigby” or “Ruby Tuesday” I kind of expected the vocal siren sound from the beginning to happen again as a background vocal and I was kind of disappointed when it didn't. I think that would have been a nice effect like in the Pixies “Where is My Mind?”
Next we're on “Feels pt.2” Which has some very cool melodies, that make huge sections sound like one big chorus.
“Pocket Lint” has some great drumming. There are a lot of good parts on this one. The instrumental post-chorus we hear the bass step up to melody against rhythmic guitar parts. The bridge is a neat slow build up with a guitar riff that's reminiscent of the Riff that opens the album on “Dewdropper”
The Final song starts with some lo-fi guitar stuff then the bass enters second filling it out. Great harmony vocals, cool ascending octaves. I’m kind of reminded of Dinosaur Jr. on some of parts of this one, And on the vocals at some parts I'm reminded of early Against Me!, but there are some very cool vocal layers toward the end that are one of the biggest highlights.
Great record overall, the songs are well written and stand apart from each other, and instrumentally have good continuity while changing basically every song, and sometimes going back for sounds again later. WKC.
So this week I want to tell ya'll about a record by one of my personal favorite Texas Bands: TOMA from Austin. The band's lineup is Keys, Drums, Bass, and Guitar with multiple members who sing.
Their EP, which came out in March of 2015, has only seven songs, but each of them is a complete Powerhouse.
The First Song, "Fearing" is an Am rocker with Solos and Vocal harmonies all over the place. Parts of it sound very Surf. Parts of it almost Classical. The First solo (Keys) reminds me of Del Shannon's "Runaway" or "Hats Off to Larry", The second sound like it could be a quote from Toccata and Fuege. The Third Is a guitar solo with huge raunchy bends and fuzzy slides over a wash of Organ Chords. This is a Jam.
The Second song, "Maritime" sounds as chill and underwater as you might think, with smooth, fluid Guitar finger style and bendy lead running basically un-interrupted from beginning to end over a wash of ride cymbals and Organ sounds with modulating reverb. The Chorus is interesting, and very modern sounding in that the chorus is a call an response between guitar and vocal where the guitar is the call and vocal is the answer.
"Live Forever", The next song is the fist spot on the album where we start to hear more conventional Piano key and guitar chord sounds. The Vocal melody is doing most of the heavy listing on this one, including some weird key change and "borrowed chord" notes in the Chorus. The whole thing has some sweet chord changes; They're good cause they're unusual and different, but still tied together nice by the melody.
"Heartstrings" this is Probably the bands most popular song. It opens with Bass enigmatically sliding into an E over and over. Next the Guitar comes in with a riff based on an E arpeggio and some slap-back delay. The Keys and Drums come in together on a Pickup, and after a few statements, the guitar and keys drop out. The first Verse is sung by only one singer over just bass and drums at first, with the instruments reintroduced as it goes on until everyone is back, at which point it goes into a sic I, I+, vi, iv part that reminiscent of "Crying" by Roy Orbitson. The Guitar solo is fuzzy without the slap-back, very melodic, starting with a scale, some slides, then some H/o, P/o, then ending with searing octave bends, and runs right back into the Orbitson sounding build up Pre-chorus, then a quick drop off into an acapella Chorus, then finishing light and melodic.
The next song "Killers of the Cool" we get another nice guitar Hook, into a Chords and Vocal verse, mostly strummed, with a little finger style, and with a flanger. The song's bridge does a false ending leading into one of the coolest keys solos on the record. The part soars so high that I cant be sure, but I think its wandering into some dreamy whole tone stuff.
This song, "Steady" Hits you with the Flanger and finger style right up front. The Vocal melody is full of weird 4th and 5th intervals that are disconcerting a way that works really well to lead you into the changes and staccato picking in the prechorus, which in turn drops into a resolving chorus. More Augmented changes and staccato picking next. The Solo's are nice, but not the best on the record. you get some cool flanging tremolo picking action though. into a dramatic ending.
The Last Song "Once You Leave" Starts off with an intro that sounds like a bridge; very Epic, and a return to the fuzz sounds we heard a lot at the beginning of the record, and Piano sounds we had a lot of in the middle, and this combo helps tie everything up nicely. The vocal melody is long and winding; I'ts very catchy and moves on basically right after you get it in your head, a lot like some of the songs on "Chutes Too Narrow". The prechorus does some cool minor augmented thingies with flanger. After the chorus we get back to a restatement of the bridge sounding intro. The next big change is the "real bridge" which leads with the drums switching into a really prominent hip-hop beat and the keys playing with what I'm calling a glitched out swing feel. the guitar enters this replaying a previously heard finger style part before going into a reverb drenched surf solo culminating in tremolo picking and restatement over an organ wash like we heard in "Fearing".
I've spoken a lot about this record in the past and more just now so I'm not going to go into a lot of detail in closing, but suffice to say that this record is a Must-Have.
"you never noticed"
This record is great for Rock and pop Songwriting, and for cool weird empty spaces musically.
The first track "Concrete Angel" is pretty much vocals and a creepy minor guitar riff with some kind of cool stereo delay. The vocals are like a reflective storytelling thing, like a long poem, and the hook sounds like its a four part multi-track vocal.
So the second song, "Easy Tears" is a big deviation after the first being a lot of light guitar. It opens with piano in a really deep register, which sounds especially deep after the first song. Also as the song goes on we get some envelope filter arpeggiator stuff happening which is pretty awesome, and gradually there is more drum machine happening.
The Guitar comes back with a more analog sounding delay in the third song "Wash your Mouth" This song has a great, open Hook, But feels a little bit constrained. The lyrics also feel a lot more second person and direct here.
The title track "You Never Noticed" Continues a lot of the sounds from the second song, as far as synths and drums go, with the exception that it uses guitar again. This song sounds both very 90's and very 70's at the same time. The the Guitar part sounds like something Blur would do. The direct second person stuff of the lyrics and the the floor toms are in the drums sound like a lot of early 90's MTV type of rock. The synth parts here remind me of the "Future Legend" by Bowie which I think was an intro to "Diamond Dogs"
"Alsup Prayer" isn't a song in the conventional sense, but its one of the highlights of the record. The musical parts of it are an arpeggiator/ arpeggio part with some kind of ominous Cello sounding synth in the background. The Vocals are the really interesting stuff here. They're kind of just a melodic monolouge, but with harmony vocals repeating every phrase. Not totally sure if the vocals are performed with multi tracking or with a delay effect, but they sound really awesome. The song ends kind of abruptly though; I kind of expected it to run into the next song, and function as an intro.
The Last song "Diving Cruelty" Sounds like a 90's end credits of a movie song. The lyrics have some cool clever word play, and the arrangement is a cool mix of a repeating piano riff and strings mostly playing bass and drone notes, and with drums added at dramatic parts, which works well for emphasis. There are a few small Trouble spots I noticed with the vocals on this track. Basically you can hear wind on the mic at one point, and a few harmonies sound a little off. Theese really aren't that distracting though. No big deal.
Overall: I like this album. The lyrics and music are both well written and kept me engaged listening. The sounds of the songs change but also repeat every couple songs, which keeps things moving well without making all the changes strange and unexpected. The Production is good but could be better. Its currently priced at only 3.00 on bandcamp which makes it a no brainer to buy.
Cody Adams "Trance In The Martian Lounge"
This Album Is pure Psych-Rock.
The first track, "Let's Trance" is kind of Bizarre electronic stuff but a cool intro; Its not really representative of the rest of the record.
It really takes off on the second song, "Stiletto Platforms" which is very 60's in a good way, kind of has a T.Rex or Santana vibe.
"Lois B. Wilde" again sixties sounding vibe, the vocal melody kind of reminded me of the frank zappa song bobby brown. Cool guitar solo with plenty of pentatinics and pedal steel bends. Weird string and synth arrangements in the background, weirded me out, but were probably my favorite thing in the end.
"LoveSucker" is light and acoustic, big vocal hook. sounded kind of 90's Brit-popish.
"The Evening That Wouldnt Die" I thing is all layered synths. Very 80's with dotted eight delay on the synth bass. organ sounding synth part did cool weird arpeggiations.
"Invaders of The Stallion Race"
this song is an Intersteller Journey of Acoustic strumming and synth layers. Theres a tremelo on the vocals, thats pretty insane. and the background vocals sound like a tape sped up.
"Fancy Lemonade" notably more chill than the last couple songs. Parts of the lyrics are spanish. has some super 50's sounding vocal parts. and a sweet Marty Robbins solo.
"Starlene (Delicate Stranger)" starts out with a steady slow rock'n'roll groove sort of like Get Back or Come Together, then after like a minute it turns to a minor key with a crazy phaserish sound a falsetto vocals, then then it changes again to a part with chorus guitar and super ascending vocal stuff and crazy early 60's sounding background vocals, then it does some minor key stuff again, and ends with pretty chorus guitar.
"Intersteller Operator" This song reminds me of Wall era. Pink Floyd. I guess because of the solos and vocal hooks, and its a little funky. Good ending to the album with some ambient sounding stuff.
Overall: I like this album. All of the songs are good, they keep me interested, and they sound unified without running together too much. All the individual instruments have good tone and play cool parts, and the production as a whole is pretty good. WK
Hey, Kind of a weird thing that I'm starting this on new years day, but its been a long time coming;
I've had a growing frustration with the infustructure of the Houston Music scene. Basically, I have a hard time finding local rock bands that I like. Nobody does flyers anymore, and the ways we have to find out about music are not very good.
There are venue websites, these are sometimes hard to navigate, or they don't display properly, also you have to be really looking before you even go to theese, and most of the venues will book anyone who will get people in the door... they have no quality filter at all. Another way to look for shows is to look on facebook events. this is sometimes a good way, but Facebook's algorithms tend to show me things I am not interested in or things I already know about, or just memes. Also the "no quality filter" problem comes up occasionally.
Space City Rock was always a good source, but it really lists everything and Its hard for me to tell what I care about from its list just by looking..... "George Strait @ Reliant" could be listed on a line adjacent to "Molotov Compromise @ White Swan".
Craigslist musicians is either "I am a 15 year old guitarist looking for lead guitarist, bassist, drummer, singer, keyboard player, brass, and anything else to complete band" or "singer songwriter from (city/state) seeking views on new Ep" or a few other CL tropes. no real conversation there, just loose threads that add up to not a whole lot.
I had a lot of hope for bandcamp, but I cant get it to display just Rock music from Houston. Every time I've tried, I got a mix of ambient trance, chopped and screwed, hardcore bands, and folk duo's. I guess I didn't realize that Rock and Roll was so much to ask for.
So, that said, I wanted to create a website that focuses on: